It's finally looking like summer in Vancouver! It's definitely perfect weather for outdoor activities, and if you've got nothing to do, head over to Whistler! Whistler is located in the Coast Mountains of BC north of Vancouver. It's also known for having the #1 ski resort in North America, and personally I love heading over there during the wintertime for some epic snowboarding! But what has this 2 hour-away ski mountain have to do with summertime?
I must say, Whistler is absolutely stunning in summer where most of the ice and snow have melted. What remains is a great place for mountain biking, sightseeing, hiking, av tours and more. Last summer, we took advantage of the beautiful summer and headed to Whistler for ziptrekking! Ziptrekking is essentially ziplining, where you get from point A to point B by riding on a cable! It takes advantage of gravity and can go pretty fast. What Zipline Ecotour does best is ziplining from one tree point to another, with distances up to 2000 feet and drops up to 20 stories high :o Amazing! Their system is really stable and flexible that you can even head down the zipline upside down! And I believe it's called a ziptrek because it's not just an experience where you go down once, you actually trek and zipline for a number of times + a great tour of the ecosystem of the area!
Tip#1 Book early! When you're planning for your trip to Whistler, be sure to book your ziptrek ecotour early because they get filled up pretty fast! C and I didn't, we decided to go to Whistler like a day before heading up, so we had only one choice left: the Bear tour. Not to worry - this is their original tour with "five incredible ziplines joined by a network of suspension bridges, boardwalks and trails. Stunning aerial vistas over Fitzsimmons Creek complete your eco-adventure. This tour is perfect for families, groups and those who have never ziplinned before." It's a 3 hour tour, and they offer 2-3 in a day. Rates range from $89-109 and even more for some of the tours, so it isn't cheap, but it's definitely worth the experience.
The Ziptrek is located right in Whistler, so coming from Vancouver, you would pass through the Sea to Sky Highway, which is a stunning drive. I love the way going back as well because you're right beside the water.
When you get to the Whistler Village, head to the Carleton Lodge across from the Whistler Village Gondolas. I don't have a picture here, but after meeting up with the tour guide, they lead us out here near the gondolas where we would all gear up and get our briefing. If you take a look behind the tents, you would see hundreds of mountain bike enthusiasts lining up for the gondola!
Here I am all geared up for ziptreking! Tip # 2 is to pack light! Personally, I brought my trusty Canon S95 which is a small point and shoot but fully-featured camera to capture the moments, and my wallet and phone of course! I had a jacket that had many zippered pockets to put my belonging in, so that they won't fall off when I zipline. They would ask you to leave your bags and even water in big plastic containers with a lock, so no point in bringing a lot of things. They would have drink stations for you anyway, so don't worry about getting thirsty! It's one way that they try to preserve the ecosystem as some people may tend to leave garbage behind.
We headed up the zipline "trial" station to teach us the mechanics, tips and what to expect when we are ziplining. It was a sunny day so it was perfect time for ziplining! The ecotour would usually have a small group so that you wouldn't have to wait forever for your turn. Only one person gets to go at one time, that's why!
Then, we rode the van to the actual site where we would do the ziplining. Here's the entrance - isn't it just so fitting? Every little tree top station we would go up to would have something like this, and there would be signs sharing what kind of animals lived in that area and how they are part of the ecosystem.
As I mentioned above, the Bear tour would pass through the Fitzsimmon Creek, and this is our view from one of the tree tops! All I could think of was, Karla... don't drop your phone! Or your camera! Kidding aside, it's not everyday that you get to experience the mountains and the rushing river and towering trees - I just stood there in awe of God's wonderful creation!
Ziplining is fun because you get to pass through these beautiful scenery almost similar to how Tarzan would probably have done it - going from tree to tree using vines, only ours is way more stable with cable and gear and all the safety measures. I must say it was incredibly hard to video as we were moving too fast!
Here I am getting setup to go on one of the ziplines! Tip #3 Wear shades and sunscreen when it's a sunny day! That way you can experience the nature without squinting... it gets pretty bright up there!
You can do anything when you're going down the zipline - you can even flip upside down! Here's a quick video of the experience when you're actually going down.
Why you should go? It's a great outdoor activity where you can experience nature in a unique way - through the trees and over rivers! There's not a lot of trekking so you don't even have to worry about sweating and getting all tired. It's a fun family activity both kids and adults will love. And of course, there's the crazy photos you can take!
Another thing to look forward too is what you can eat afterwards. C likes going to Zog's - which right in the centre of the Whistler Village. Especially during winter time, it's just something hearty to look forward to after a snowboarding ride. During summertime, we especially enjoy having poutine, sausages and beaver tails!
Never heard of beaver tails? A beaver tail is not an actual beaver's tail or any meat product. It's actually a fried dough that's shaped like a beaver tail, popular in Canada. C and I just like the original ones which have sugar and cinnamon on it. Some get really creative with the toppings! As for poutine, some say it's one of those eats you must try in Canada... I think you should have it just because it tastes good. It's basically fries + gravy + cheese curds. Because the gravy is hot, it melts the cheese so when you eat it, the cheese becomes very stringy and that's part of the fun. Like beaver tails, many have made creative versions of them such as adding sausage, or pulled pork, and other kinds of cheeses as well.
And no trip to Whistler is complete without walking around the Whistler Village. Filled with lots of quaint shops, tourist-y shops, and name brands that come from Canada, the walk is pretty pleasant. Since Whistler was one of the venues during the Winter Olympics in 2010, there's lots of new pieces of architecture and even kids' areas that are great for photos. And it's always a pleasure looking at the mountains and seeing how the trees are separated slightly - showing where the skiing / snowboarding routes would have been!
Because Whistler is so close to Vancouver, it can easily be a day trip. And on the way back, seeing the mountains and the sea just takes your breath away. I can just watch this scene forever!
And that's it for this post. I would love to hear your feedback - do share what you want to know and where you want me to go next!
Things you need to know:
Ziptrek Ecotour is where you can book your ziplining tour and find out more details.
View Ziptrek Ecotours Whistler, Canada in a larger map